I was researching the Nebra sky disc for another reason when this poem started clamoring to come out. It’s very little changed from the first draft, which is unusual for me.
The Disc of the Sky
My ancestors saw the cosmos as a thing to be reconciled,
So one of them made a disc of hammered bronze, night-tinted
With rotted egg and studded with gleaming sun, crescent moon,
Droplet stars, seven sisters — all to tell them when it was spring,
When the year required a thirteenth month, and where the sun
Went at night. It’s a beautiful and mongrel thing, piecemeal
And stateless as I am, its DNA forged of Cornwall tin and
Austrian copper, held up to measure German skies.
Bronze is an alloy taxi, semi-universal,
The same in a slew of languages
Until the Byzantines rendered it
Unrecognizable in the days
When there were no taxis, either.
For sixty dollars, I can have a reproduction, another person’s lie
Become my truth — my ancestors’ astral message to their
Only-daughter descendant three thousand miles and years away.